Clarke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Having graduated from the Philadelphia Musical Academy, he moved to New York City in 1971 and began working with famous bandleaders and musicians including Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Pharoah Sanders, Gil Evans, Stan Getz and Al Di Meola.
Return to Forever
During this period he joined the jazz fusion group Return to Forever led by pianist Chick Corea. The group became one